Jenny's Library

Reading Round-up 2013: week 33

Posted on: December 6, 2013

cover image for Along For the RideAlong for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

When solid, dependable Auden decides to spend the summer at the beach with her dad, stepmom, and new half sister, no one is more surprised than Auden herself.  She’s not sure she made the right choice, what with Thisbe crying at all hours and Heidi and her father fighting, but neither does she feel up to going back home for the summer and watching her mother flirt with – and then discard – yet another graduate student.  So when Heidi asks Auden if she might be willing to do the accounting for her boutique while she’s out on maternity leave, Auden jumps at the excuse to spend a few hours away from the house and alone in the quiet office in the back of the store instead.  Auden doesn’t plan on making friends with the girls who work there, or on spending her summer collecting the childhood experiences she never got – like learning to ride a bike.  But since when does life go according to plan?

Reviews of Dessen’s work (mine included) tend to make it sound like if you’ve read one Dessen novel, you’ve read them all. While there’s certainly some truth to that, I have to say that I like her more recent work much better than her earlier novels.  She may be telling variations on the same story over and over, but it’s a good story, and her writing has definitely improved with practice.  Along for the Ride has just the right mix of friendship, romance, and family; the characters are still unique and a little bit odd at times, but they feel more like actual humans and less like people playing parts; and while the ending is predictable, Auden’s path to that point is less so.  All of which makes Along for the Ride a fun, light, sweet novel.

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